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Still working out some details... but have a multilam neck blank glued up and figured I might as well create a placeholder for 1 of 2 basses I'll be shifting my focus to in the coming months...

I'm calling it "Fish On".  Going to be a 35" scale fretless but with fret markers.  was originally thinking I'd do an archtop style bridge with piezo... but I just can't live with the idea of not being able to zero in on my intonnation, and none of the piezo bridges that are commercially available do it for me... so decided I'll go with a hipshot d style and string thru.  I have tentative plans to do some piezo ribbons towards the neck side. 

anywho, below is my goal.  I think I'm going to do a compound radius on this top, or at least a more aggressive radius... still working out the details.

any/all feedback/thoughts/tom-foolery/encouragement welcome.

 

FishOnBass.thumb.jpg.5439e841c7a5087941a4a82b5e4a7b23.jpg

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48 minutes ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Looking forward to this very much!

thank you sir I appreciate the support.  I've been dragging my feet as I am trying to finish off the tele/paul and some speaker builds... but I feel like I'm about to get "the bug" and start forging ahead on this so... hope to start making small progress here and there.

 

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Sweet! Love the general overall feel of it. The only [part that I stick on is the head stock star shaped inlay part. It separates the heavy red area from the rest of the bass. Might be nice treated similar to the body? Not nitpicking.

What kind of woods?

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22 minutes ago, komodo said:

Sweet! Love the general overall feel of it. The only [part that I stick on is the head stock star shaped inlay part. It separates the heavy red area from the rest of the bass. Might be nice treated similar to the body? Not nitpicking.

What kind of woods?

I very much appreciate the input sir, and especially from someone whom I respect so deeply, and also appreciate the delivery with kid gloves.  I was originally toying with the idea of it being sort of like a 'tulip' headstock, and the 'star' part being the typical green at the stalk... but at this point I'm not sure what it is admittedly!  Perhaps I'll take another stab at that detail... maybe make it softer?  maybe do something else entirely?  I just wanted to add some matching oak detail to the head.

woods: well, the top pictured is actually a piece of figured oak that I got at home depot.  believe it or not, that is only slipmatched. 

The neck is a multilam of purpleheart and flamed maple in an 'alembic' style glueup. 

The body is going to be purpleheart at the back with some sort of maple accents.

at one point i was considering trying to mill some of the figured purpleheart I have into a fretboard... but playing with the mockup I'm just not sure of it.  It seems too much.  Also, ebony is a much better choices afa durability esp with a fretless altho I do use tapewound strings anyway.

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I agree with @komodo that the star/crown looks odd on the tail of a fish. A plain blonde rounded triangular pretty large truss rod nut cover on the red headstock would be more fishy.

Other than that, verrry noice!

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Just now, Bizman62 said:

I agree with @komodo that the star/crown looks odd on the tail of a fish. A plain blonde rounded triangular pretty large truss rod nut cover on the red headstock would be more fishy.

Other than that, verrry noice!

interesting... you see a fish in the headstock?  Honestly I've felt like the theme of this wasn't really together yet so I'm very interested where I might add more 'fish features".  Perhaps I should replace it with some sort of 'scale' type carved piece?

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btw and for the record... was thinking of doing some sort of 'fish jumping' inlay or other reference somewhere.  the 'fish on' is a nod to primus and the song 'fish on'.  I'm a huge fan and he used a ct 5 string fretless for that song if I'm not mistaken.

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Just now, mistermikev said:

you see a fish in the headstock?

No, I see a fish with a looooong tail in the entire guitar. Psychedelic and cartoony in a 70's way... There's lips at the end of the lower bout, a dorsal fin in the upper horn, a pelvic fin in the lower horn, gills at the pickup or maybe rather at the bridge... Maybe reshaping the tail to something of that of a shortnose sturgeon?

 

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9 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Great!  A bass :) And a fretless one :):)

35"?  Any particular reason?

thank you sir.  Just looking to replace my long missed fretless.

afa scale - well... carl thompson says bigger is better!  he does say that he thinks the biggest tonal difference in an instrument is as a result of the scale length.  I believe he was one of the first to do a 36" scale bass.  For me... just thought it'd be different and cool. 

3 hours ago, komodo said:

There are no wrong answers here!

I did not see the fish, and wondered why Fish On. 

hehe, I didn't realize I had any resemblance to a fish until bizman pointed it out... now I can't unsee it.  Really 'fish on' was just a reference to a fav primus song and bass part... and of course les used the scroll bass so wanted to do something to nod to him.  At this point I'm def settled on putting some sort of carved scales or perhaps inlaid as a mock truss cover. 

 

on another note... if anyone can comment on their own experiences... I've read that doing inlays on a fretless bass (out of anything other than wood) is a bad idea as the string will 'sound different' depending on if it's being held over an inlay.  Now I've had a fretless with fret markers... no idea what the material was... but never noticed this.  Saw a thread where another builder did 'trapazoid' inlays on a fretless and he said it was something he wished he hadn't done.  Just curious if anyone else has experienced this?

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8 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

Now I've had a fretless with fret markers... no idea what the material was... but never noticed this.  Saw a thread where another builder did 'trapazoid' inlays on a fretless and he said it was something he wished he hadn't done. 

Never tried that but logically thinking it makes sense. Fret markers are thin and you mostly miss them. Trapezoids are HUGE so you'll place your finger on those. Now the material of an inlay is very different to wood, much more solid no matter whether we're talking about abalone or pearloid, MOP or MOTS... None of those have the cell structure and grain pattern of wood. On a fretted fretboard the notes are determined by string to fret contact only, the flesh-and-bone stick is just a means of making that contact firm. On a fretless it's about the string being pinched between wood and flesh. If even the angle of the finger can make a big difference by how meaty the contact is, how much more difference would changing the fretboard material make?

You can test this with a standard fretless using different materials instead of your fingertips. Softwood, hardwood, plastic, metal... I bet they all make a different sound if you press them similarly.

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Just now, Crusader said:

Wow very stylish and the pink-and-maple go together so well

By the way I also did not see a fish, except the top horn looked a bit like waves (upside down)

thanks for the response.  hehe "the great fish controversy of 2020".  that's how this is going down in my memory! 

yes, the purpleheart and maple... I guess oak in this case.  Purpleheart is beautiful wood... but when you pair it with something light colored... man... just really jumps out at you.

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25 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

Never tried that but logically thinking it makes sense. Fret markers are thin and you mostly miss them. Trapezoids are HUGE so you'll place your finger on those. Now the material of an inlay is very different to wood, much more solid no matter whether we're talking about abalone or pearloid, MOP or MOTS... None of those have the cell structure and grain pattern of wood. On a fretted fretboard the notes are determined by string to fret contact only, the flesh-and-bone stick is just a means of making that contact firm. On a fretless it's about the string being pinched between wood and flesh. If even the angle of the finger can make a big difference by how meaty the contact is, how much more difference would changing the fretboard material make?

You can test this with a standard fretless using different materials instead of your fingertips. Softwood, hardwood, plastic, metal... I bet they all make a different sound if you press them similarly.

right on.  I get the sense it's probably not a great idea to do much for markers as there is probably a reason it is so rare on fretless basses... esp if you were doing a slide... might sound inconsistent.  Kind of wonder why you don't see wood inlays, but then I 'spose you'd have to be extra careful about getting any gap under the inlay. 

think I'll just avoid it altogether.  thanks for the reply.

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Consider this: If you did an inlay all the way across the board like a ‘ghost fret’, the wood is actually separating there, potentials for unevenness or whatever. But if you just did fret markers on the top edge, you would see it easily and it would still be one solid board.

Not my picture, no idea who made this, using as example. those extra dots on the high side are interesting also.

3605E3BE-A325-47C5-8511-064971A81637.png

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6 hours ago, komodo said:

Consider this: If you did an inlay all the way across the board like a ‘ghost fret’, the wood is actually separating there, potentials for unevenness or whatever.

That's an interesting point of view! Then again, inlayed fret marks as wooden lines only go to about one mm deep which would leave most of the fretboard as one piece for transfering the vibrations back and forth. Individual blocks sitting on a layer of glue and separated by glue impregnated cross grain veneers would definitely change the tone!

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Wow. step out for a couple of days and find this thing that took off like nobody's  business. Cool design Mike. I didn't see a fish either. I did see a fishhook in the bass horn. That was good enough for me.

SR

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16 hours ago, komodo said:

Consider this: If you did an inlay all the way across the board like a ‘ghost fret’, the wood is actually separating there, potentials for unevenness or whatever. But if you just did fret markers on the top edge, you would see it easily and it would still be one solid board.

Not my picture, no idea who made this, using as example. those extra dots on the high side are interesting also.

3605E3BE-A325-47C5-8511-064971A81637.png

I do appreciate the response, and that's a lovely bass... and I really like the look of that... and it's a solid idea... but I've played fretless quite a while and I absolutely love having marker lines all the way across.  it made the transition to fretless bass so easy for me.  I rely on them a lot esp when doing chords because it really helps you stay in tune.  My plan was to do fret slots like normal, but then fill them with veneer.  I plan to pack it in as tight as possible and then use either ca or epoxy to help keep it totally flat. 

 

9 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

That's an interesting point of view! Then again, inlayed fret marks as wooden lines only go to about one mm deep which would leave most of the fretboard as one piece for transfering the vibrations back and forth. Individual blocks sitting on a layer of glue and separated by glue impregnated cross grain veneers would definitely change the tone!

right-o.  I never had an issue with my old fretless which had white fret markers.  Never felt them, never noticed any difference in tone... but I suspect a bigger inlay might be a different story.  Even with wood... unless cut by cnc... I can imagine any gaps under it being a source of issue.  Now given komodos inlay abilities... perhaps HE could pull that off... but i know MY limits!  Not even gonna try.

2 hours ago, ScottR said:

Wow. step out for a couple of days and find this thing that took off like nobody's  business. Cool design Mike. I didn't see a fish either. I did see a fishhook in the bass horn. That was good enough for me.

SR

well thank you Scott, thats very kind of you to say.  Funny, I was actually thinking about some sort of fish hook for inlay... hadn't seen the fish hook in the horn, nor had I seen it as a wave as crusader mentioned... seeing this bass so dif now!  thank y'all for that.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/22/2020 at 4:29 AM, Norris said:

You could inlay the fretboard then cover it all in a layer of clear epoxy. Epoxy didn't harm Jaco's tone any :)

right on... I have never tried epoxy so it'd def be a learning experience.   on this one I think I'm going to go satin (I know I have said that so many times and then right at the end I go gloss) not if epoxy is good for satin... but if it will give me jaco tone (hehe)... totally worth it. 

Would really like to do some sort of fish inlay with multiple different types of inlay material.  Think that would be a fun learning experience. 

anywho, this one has just been sitting while I finish up my speakers and wrestle with the tele/paul headstock.  I was orig going to do a pseudo archtop bridge, but changed my mind... got a hipshot D style.  Thinking of doing piezo ribbons under 1/8" of wood following the strings.  then a little mixing board... then into a piezo pre.  just thoughts for now! 

 

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